The following is a general listing of all the major behavioral qualities statistically correlated to Ni development. The focus of this article is to paint as complete and undiluted a picture of Ni’s behaviorism as possible, in an abstract sense and without modulation from any adjacent functions in a type’s hierarchy.
The Ni function compels the individual to live a slowly paced, hands-off life of observation and reflection on the information structures of the world. They are first and foremost data synthesizers that formulate image-encoded schemas from unconsciously woven patterns in reality. The Ni user will be very graphic in their consciousness, thinking in visuals and representing the world through visual metaphors. These dynamic, but geometric, relationships are registered as essential to reality’s functioning and are eventually superimposed onto other life domains in a proverbial form. “A tree’s branches can only grow as far up as its roots go down” , “flowing water never goes stale” or “every light casts a shadow” are examples of the graphical aphorisms that may develop from this information synthesizing process. For the Ni user, the world is not comprehended through words or axioms but through these visual relationships which words help to convey to others. These relations are often symmetrical in nature –as embodied in concepts like the Taoist yin-yang symbol– due to the abundance of symmetry observed in life itself. An elaborate worldview inescapably develops predicated on these abstracted relationships, aimed to give life predictability and continuity of narrative. The world is never seen straightforwardly by the Ni user, as reality is formed from representative structures –not rational absolutes. Knowledge, to the Ni user, is the net awareness gained by superimposing layers of these representations on reality and mapping its landscape as far and wide as possible.
And because he views reality as representation, the Ni user will constantly experience life as a perceptual sphere built from the interactions of mind and material. The world appears as a tapestry woven together by higher forces which underpin every object and substance – causing the objects themselves to feel like the outer shells or totems of fundamental forces. And a sense will often exist – as explored in phenomenology – that consciousness is the essential thing. In some form or another, the Ni user will come to embody the philosophy that the psyche has a degree of priority over the material. One way to imagine this is to say the world constellates itself to the Ni user as being built equally of “psyche” and of matter. Still, every Ni user will synthesize this felt sense in slightly different ways, with some believing that consciousness is the prime constituent of reality and others feeling we are co-creators of reality by our active participation in how it appears to us and how we ascribe meaning to the contents within it. This can lead magnetically to a type of panpsychism, where the Ni user views the contents of the mind seriously as entities, forces, energies and contours as perceivable as literal objects are to other people. These psychological images and forces will not only be present, but will also be persistent. To them the psyche has a steady-yet-fluid shape; an image and terrain that is to be explored through vision and internal perception. And while other types may arrive at similar philosophies through rationality, for the Ni user this sensation is not something deduced but instead simply uncovered, as it represents the default state of their experience. This proclivity naturally leads to an interest in meditation, eastern thought and spirituality which emphasizes these same psychic aspects and presents a philosophy of consciousness more natively aligned to their phenomenological experience.
Yet for all their openness towards surreal ideas about consciousness, the Ni user is not at all random or unstructured in their views. They are scarcely persuaded of most things and are instead highly cautious of ideas overall. The Ni user will have a keen eye for identifying the improbability of things and will not be prone to jump on board with things unless their inner imagery already maps out an inescapable trajectory in that direction. The Ni user is not an inciter or generator of novel things, nor is his specialty a spontaneous creativity, but is instead the holistic assimilation of trends over time, and a convergence of perspective along the most reinforced trendlines. They generally see only one or a few trajectories stemming from a given situation and are magnetically drawn to the likeliest interpretations. Thus, the ideas the Ni user arrives at are not things he creates, but things he discovers to already be “the case”; often sourcing from an inside-out evaluation of being but just as well from a panoramic evaluation of society. In this way, the Ni user is a sort of investigator or excavator of the primordial imagery in himself and society. More than any other type, the Ni user receives a linear and direct feed of the imagery of the unconscious, and because of this convergence of focus, many Ni users across time continue to re-discover and re-articulate the same things as they unearth the same territory. As Ni users from all ages inquire into questions of being, their convergent intuition guides them to parallel answers and to convey those understandings in imagery –since image is the primary means by which that information is discovered and encoded. A canonical historical archive therefore has developed over time in the form of symbology; the encrypted patterns and representative structures that underpin reality, as collectively uncovered over time.
In this sense, the Ni user may often find camaraderie in the symbology that has been laid down by previous pioneers for its capacity to give a form of articulation to that felt inner content. Strange as it may seem to others to believe or seriously consider such archaic and outdated emblems, the Ni user is drawn to these old images the same way the Si user is drawn to information encoded in the old earth. The Ni user may not wish to be a mystic whatsoever, and when not fully individuated may shrink away from this imagery for fear of academic reprimand. And yet they may feel as though their style of awareness drafts them inescapably into these ideas. They emerge out of themselves when any intense investigation is done or indeed even when no investigation is done. The realm of alchemical symbolism, the Tarot, ayurvedic medicine and Astrology may be studied intently for their capacity to superimpose a representation over life. Shapes also contain a powerful influence over them, and they may be drawn to sacred geometry and mandalas. Numerology may also be investigated. Over time, by studying these emblems with the intention of discovering what their true meanings are, they are slowly transformed into the likeness of those who built them. As they unearth the contents of this domain, they often become affiliated with the taxonomies used by their predecessors to try to express this underworld. However, their dabbling in these ideas may earn them a reputation as a mystic and confuse family and friends who may not understand the significance in such concepts.
As the Ni user matures into a personal worldview, a vast archive of typicalities form by these observations. Each pattern of life is epitmoized in the psyche as an general rule or process. This leads quite inescapably to the formation of stereotypes at the local level and archetypes at the universal level –both of which are used to map reality by providing a sense of predictability. In the positive sense, this stereotyping tendency allows for life to be an iconic series of interactions between previously indexed forces and entities. The Ni user will overlay their schema onto the world and see iterations of the same substances everywhere. From this vantage point, certain social or political interactions will appear to them as clockwork; a series of eventualities stemming from two or more colliding forces. The interactions in a neighborhood may be seen through the same light, as categories are applied to each class of person and their collisions cause transformations through a sort of necessary chemistry. But as often captured by the negative sense of the word stereotype, this can lead to errors in perception where a pattern or schema is superimposed over a situation too prematurely. A person is anticipated to be a given way, due to the symbol they represent, while turning out to be quite different. And at the archetypal level, the same simplification may occur where the Ni user reduces the global situation as something emergent from a conflict between the light and dark, the masculine and feminine, an interaction of four or five elements or some other schema which neglects certain subtleties and details. This may be infuriating to those who live with the Ni user as they may feel the Ni user is oversimplifying them, or worse that they are pigeonholing people into their categories –whether of culture, class, race or gender. Many may scoff at the Ni user for depending on what they feel are outdated prejudices and not seeing things at the individual level. But the Ni user cannot ignore what larger pattern someone or something generally belongs to and will tend to incidentally synthesize life from that lens even without any actual investment or commitment to any dogma or belief system.
Another effect that often emerges from the Ni function is a belief in synchronicity. Because of how Ni registers life through a delicate tracking of “significance” –not by the rigidity of causal chains– the Ni user will instinctively see the value in data associations that converge in theme and motif, even when the cause is yet unknown. As is often the case for both intuitive processes, the pattern is recognized first without needing to have the sensory points explicitly traced and neither does the absence of a sequential explanation make the information alignments vanish. And when Ni is especially strong, seemingly disconnected layers of existence are woven together through an entangled point; compelling many Ni users to contend with the possible existence of the acausal. Certain events or datasets may be felt as crossing different planes of reality and being inexorably related even when a surface examination would see no trace between them. They may be struck by compelling evidence for the existence of extra-sensory perception or remote viewing which allows us to see through the eyes of others or predict their thoughts. For some, relationships may be intuited to exist between oneself and previous lives. Areas of the body may be associated with certain psychic energies through emotional tapping, chakras, iridology or palmistry. Certain recurring numbers may be felt as omens of blessings or catastrophes. If these intimations persist, they can become highly suspicious and feel that certain events will come about in the near future when a given number, detail or sign suggests a karmic force is strongly at play.
Aside from the aforementioned, functions also display compensatory behaviors when the individual is under stress. The following behaviors manifest in the Ni user when distressed or when accompanied by high levels of neuroticism.
When the Ni user falls out of mental health, their suspicions degrade further into superstitions, death omens and a persistent state of anxiety. Life becomes chaotic and unpredictable. The world will feel utterly uncertain to them and they will not be able to clearly see the cause of their own suffering or that of society. As they struggle to intuit their situation through perceptual projection, the misfortunes they experience are not interpreted as localized occurrences but are instead epitomized as emerging from some extra-personal force looming over all things. They will start to perceive a woven network of intentions behind everything, pulling the strings of society at large. It’s here that we see the Ni user fabricate conspiracy theories; extraterrestrial hypotheses, occult government sects, the imminent rise of a new world order and the like. A sense exists that something unseen is making all this happen, and for once the Ni user loses their non-committal nature and becomes utterly fixated on certain interpretations of life. This will cause them great difficulty in their daily lives as the Ni user may be quickly ostracized from society for their bizarre premonitions. More than a few distressed Ni users throughout history have been branded the local lunatics; eventually growing morose and resentful for what they feel is the lack of foresight and idiocy of the common man.
A different effect we often see in a distressed Ni user is a series of apocalyptic visions. They may experience nightmares, either when asleep or awake, vividly depicting scenes of war, destroyed buildings, massacres and the end of a civilization. And the Ni user may experience these sudden flashes with the same level of physicality with which they experience their waking life –making it difficult to discredit them as illusions. Here we see an unconscious projection and intrusion of their polar sensory function into their mind, causing literal sensations to trigger their nervous system without an actual cause. The relationship between intuition and sensation is a two-way street, where one can seep into the other unbidden when an excessive repression is at its breaking point –allowing their intuitions to unconsciously fabricate sensory experiences that are patterned after their thematic convergence. These unsettling images may cause them to feel that their visions are in fact pending actualities. A memento mori will settle over them. Society is on the brink of collapse; everything is headed in the worst direction and anything short of immediate correction will lead to an irreparable catastrophe.
The anthropomorphic form of Ni is known as Vin, which is described more completely in this page. Vin is a psychological archetype which appears in the form of a Senex with incredible powers. In mythology he is often represented as a shaman, a seer or witch-doctor. At other times he is depicted as a third-eye in the center of the forehead, a crystal orb, a falcon, a crow or a raven. The primary feature of Vin is panoramic sight, which can pierce the present, past, future as well as across the dimensions of the dead and living. The avian metaphor aptly captures this attribute, as prey birds are known for their keen perception and field of view. And in some mythologies, Ni is depicted as a head containing dozens of eyes facing in all directions. The shaman is also able to communicate with the spiritual world, inform you as to your calling and guide you towards your destiny. Those enraptured by the spirit of Vin will undergo a pilgrimage driven by a search for an awakening or enlightenment. And this inquisition will take them across a diversity of esoteric domains, religious avenues, rituals and an apprenticeship under shamanic figures further along in this very question.
When the myth of Vin is fully realized, the Ni user awakens to the reality that all separateness is an illusion both in themselves and in all aspects of existence. They will enter a meditative flow-state where their consciousness –which is usually narrow, bounded and restricted– opens up widely, lovingly and indiscriminately to the whole universe. The psychic barrier which artificially contains the ego away from all else is eradicated, allowing an acceptance of all existence just as it is here and now. In this state, all paradoxes and dualities vanishes into a greater unity. Matter and Spirit cease to be different substances, and a comprehension permeates that the laws of the universe aren’t separate in origin or form to all that exists within it. Energy is matter which is atoms which is life which is consciousness which is spirit and none of it can be subtracted from the rest; all are the same essence –transmuted. Impermanent in specific form but permanent in essence. The universe will be felt as being ultimately made of an evolving consciousness and one becomes a participant of that dynamic, cosmic consciousness. One ceases to be an “I” and instead becomes a temporary vessel through which the universe is made aware of its own existence. An intense feeling of bliss and rapture may seep over them, and often a feeling of contact with God.
But the Ni user may also abuse their powers when the myth of Vin completely overtakes them and convinces them that they are a supernaturally gifted channel and bridge between this world and the unseen world. They may take up a post in society as a guru or medium, claiming to have clairvoyant abilities, to perform séances and to cast magic spells. The Ni user possesses no such abilities, but instead has highly aggrandized the scope of their intuition in their mind; fully supplanting the sensory for the extrasensory. If not careful, the Ni user may slip into a sort of insanity where they are no longer able to discern their own imaginations from reality. In extreme cases, the Ni user –lost in the echo chamber of their mind– comes to believe they hold a level of divinity and a holy message to gift to the world. They may appear to the public as a messianic figure and fashion a cult around their superstitions. Indeed, no type is more highly represented among cult leaders than they.